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was lighted up for the chairs, and the coaches stood in Palace Yard, which prevented any great confusion, and made our ingress and egress pretty easy. I was aid-de-camp for the night to my Lady Chesterfield : and I must say, that the lady of the house did the honours of it with that kind of ease and negligent air as pleased every body, yet without the least appearance of taking any pains to obtain that applause she so deservedly met with.
Routs of the first magnitude are pressing upon one another; for I have always observed as great a struggle, for a day in March, to crowd a private house, as among the actors in the same month to crowd their benefit night; though the season be often too warm for any squeezing but what love inspires.
The duchess of Norfolk makes a ball for the duke of Cumberland on the thirty-first instant ; eighteen couple above, and fifteen couple below stairs. I paid my court greatly to her grace by showing what your lordship said of her and her new house in the first letter you did me the honour to write to me since you got to Bath : give me the satisfaction to rivet myself in her favour, by commissioning me to tell her your lordship will come to town and attend this ball, and be present at the magnificent doings we are to have on the occasion.
As in time of peace every letter should convey some amorous story, some instance of amity and friendly sentiments, so in war there should alway be some instance of a belliferous nature; therefore I must not omit informing your lordship that a most bloody action had like to have happened between General Guise and Jacky Barnard, at
- The bone of contention, or rather the subject in canvas, was a picture: whether it was an original or no, is not material, but every one present agreed that the two disputants were certainly originals ; and to preserve both, great care was taken to prevent bloodshed.
People were alarmed at seeing Lord Holdernesse and Lord Anson going into the king's closet last Sunday morning about ten. From so early a visit, every one imagined something of the utmost importance: the sanguine, a joyful victory; the melancholy, a fatal defeat: at last the story was known to be as follows:-a letter was brought to Mr. Cleveland, with a copy enclosed of a letter said to have been found in the Fleet by the bearer, the purport of which was, a design to have shot his majesty as he came from the Opera ; but missing that opportunity, the dire intention was to be executed that morning as he went to chapel. However, his majesty went as usual to chapel, and returned, thank God! safe and well; for upon a close examination of the bearer, and comparing the copy with the original pretended to have been found, it appeared that they had been both wrote by the same person : so, instead of the expected reward, the discoverer of this plot has got a lodging in Newgate.
The duke has sent to Deal for a description of the two transport vessels lately taken on the French coast ; and the report is, that they are calculated to hold three hundred men each, placed
on benches in the hold of the vessel, which has but one mast, and draws but four feet water. This must be allowed to be a proof of their intention to invade, should any accident present them with an opportunity : they are not made for sailing, but to pass the sea in tow.
The king, 'tis said, intends to send to both houses next Tuesday, to acquaint 'em he expects to be soon invaded from France, and to desire a vote of credit.
A report is current, that French money had slackened our Russian ally, and that Sir C.
h as no credit there; others say, difficulties have arose with regard to the Hessians. These reports, I hope, only arise from some people's fears.
Lord Pembroke was married to Lady Betty Spencer, at Langly, on Saturday last ; on Sunday the whole family came to town; and on Monday the whole fabric was pulled down, Mr. Leadbetter having contracted to build a new villa for his grace for 10,0001. Most of the talked of matches being slipped off, others are coming on the stocks. Among the rest Lord G- Lmakes strong love to Miss T- It would, indeed, I think be a proper match, because her vivacity would a little animate the Dutch gravity which seems to preponderate in his composition ; and as to the finances, they are seldom, if ever, thought of by the sprightly and gay. Coll.
W i s also desperately in love with Miss W—d; which is a match where love alone must be the meagre diet of both parties, for Lord D— will no way agree to it.
Lord Denbigh has got the entré to the elder Cowley, and with Lord Ashburnham, and the younger sister, play at 12d. cribbidge and make love every night.—Luck attends some men : here is cut and come again..
Thus it seems to be a doubt whether Mars or Venus shall be the ruling planet in this island during the ensuing summer ; for an embargo has been laid over Great Britain and Ireland ; the maritime beacons which have been decaying ever since good old Eliza's days, have been ordered to be repaired; and 'tis thought the inland beacons of the kingdom will also be soon ordered to be fitted up.
In answer to these anecdotes, I shall expect from your lordship some of the most beautiful sentiments, enlivened by the most delicate wit, which I know can give you no trouble but that of writing. Though the lines be no more in number than the paragraphs I now send you, they cannot fail of being agreeable ; for I need not repeat, what is well known to your lordship, how pleased I am, and how happy I am made, when I am assured that any thing I can communicate is well received by one I so much honour and esteem, and to whom I shall always be proud of professing that I am, with the greatest regard and attachment, my lord, your lordship’s most obliged and most obedient humble servant,
THE EARL OF BATH TO GEORGE COLMAN, ESQ.
Tunbridge Wells, July the 29th, 1758. DEAR COLEY, I SUPPOSE you had such a vast deal of business on the circuit, and got so much money on it, that you had no time to lose in writing letters. We have had but two from you since you left us, and those extremely short, one as short as yourself, and t'other as a Shrewsbury cake. You must know that I expected a circumstantial and historical relation of every thing that happened on the circuit, how many causes you carried, by dint of learning and ingenuity, to the surprise of the two stupid sages of the law, and to the astonishment of all the heavy stagers on the circuit. I should have been glad to have heard likewise of all the misfortunes which happened to you on the road, how many shirts and other things your awkward footboy lost you in your journey, and how much leather you lost by your lame hackney horse. Mr. Douglas is losing his money here at lottery tickets, but perhaps he may get a rich wife by it at last. He has won many an old woman's heart here, by an excellent sermon he preached; but I want to have him, by his gallantry, get a young one with ten thousand pounds. Lord Pulteney came to us yesterday, and stays about a week ; soon after which we are in expectation of you, to lavish away some of that money you got so plentifully, and with so much ease, in your legal peregrination. The first thing an honest man has to do is to pay his just debts; and, consequently VOL. V.